I’m currently heading west to see Hope. I’m excited and, well tired. Last night, just before midnight east coast time, Hope called me up, clearly hopped up on sugar and full of cheer. I was already in bed and a tad groggy. We exchanged hellos and I pulled my sleepy mind together just in time to hear this:
“I wanted to tell you Merry Christmas, Mom.”
Even writing it and remembering it now makes my eyes water. She finally called me mom. And she was serious about saying this one word. She stressed it, emphasized it. She let me know that she’d consciously chosen to call me mom.
I remember dreaming one night this past summer about what it would be like to hear my adoptive child call me mom. In my dream the kiddo was in his/her room and just called out “Mom!” as though he/she was calling me to see something in their room. I remember I was heading into the kitchen when I heard the word, and I gasped, put my hand to my heart, and closed my eyes for a moment as I savored that single word before yelling back, “Yes?”
I remember thinking even though it was a huge deal, I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. In my dream it was such an organic moment that I wanted to treat it as though it were normal, just like any bio-kid might say to his/her parents. I remember it being so incredibly precious, and so organic and…so normal.
So, it’s an interesting juxtaposition to how I actually became Mom. Hope’s and my path to our “Mom Moment” was so different than I imagined. What to call me has been a frequent conversation ever since I flew out to see her in October the first time; even over our first meal together. Hope was removed from her mother’s care at a very young age and the absence of a mother made it weird to finally, possibly be getting one. Our conversations about what to call me continued right through her recent visit to VA over Thanksgiving. It was then that I realized just how much she thought of me as her mom; she didn’t call me mom, but she referred to me as mom when talking to her friends on the phone or social media. I remember writing about how that realization made being called mom not really matter. I knew in my heart that seeing and accepting me in that role was far more important to me than whether she ever called me mom. I was content with that. It didn’t matter.
It didn’t matter until she deliberately chose to call me Mom mere minutes before the east coast clock struck midnight, marking the arrival of Christmas.
It was her gift to me. And it was so incredibly amazing and precious and wonderful and just the best thing ever.
The. Best. Gift. Ever.
And I tried to play a little cool, but really how cool can you be when you just received the gift that you deep down wanted more than anything in the world? I tried not to cry, I wished my baby girl Merry Christmas back and I said the only thing you can really, humbly say when you get a gift like that.
I said thank you, Hope. I love you.
Hope and I still have many miles to go and bridges to cross to make this thing work, but she’s made a choice. She’s chosen me. I chose her months ago, but she chose me. She chose me at Christmas. It is world-rocking and amazeballs.
She did follow up by asking if she was getting an Ipod when I pick her up tomorrow.
No. She’s not, but bless her heart she is persistent about the techie-gadgets though, none of which she will be getting before she is permanently placed with me.
I’m en route to the west coast and will be there for my own little Christmas miracle first thing in the morning. I’m still a bit disappointed that she isn’t home with me for Christmas, but knowing that she’s chosen me is surely the next best thing.
Now, back to dissertating at 35,000 feet. Merry Christmas to all.